The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
This first phrase presents a picture of tremendous opposition. Wicked people will hate true believers and they will use whatever resources they have at their disposal to oppose them. We are living in a day when we are beginning to see an increasing intolerance of Christian values and those who hold to those values.
Many Christians will lose their perspective of their purpose in life and will get consumed with the deterioration of our country’s moral standards. They will live in fear and will fail to live out their Christian life and their responsibility to proclaim the gospel to this dark world.
The psalmist is not deterred from his biblical priorities.
“It is a great thing in a soldier to behave well under fire; but it is a greater thing for a soldier of the cross to be unflinching in the day of his trial”—William S. Plumer.1
Often times we use the Word of God as a good luck charm. ‘If I spend time in it then God will make my circumstances more favorable.’ The psalmist is clear that his circumstances are really quite unfavorable. The wicked are actually wanting to destroy him. In the midst of such vitriol, he determines all the more not to turn aside from the law of God.
A New Testament perspective:
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
1 Peter 3:13–17
When we face opposition as we serve the Lord, it is essential that we continue to stay faithful in the word and to the word. We are warned about opposition. We are instructed how to respond. And we are encouraged to remain faithful to the truth.
1 Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The Treasury of David: Psalms 111-119 (Vol. 5, p. 246). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.